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Halfway Through Radiation… and First Time on Television!

I am officially halfway through treatment today my friends.  Hold for dramatic pause for collective celebratory Hughes’ Troop cheer, dance, high-five or anything that strikes you in the moment.  I did all three myself.  Knowing that I am halfway through treatment has put me in absolutely great spirits AGAIN today.

I am astounded that the Hughes’ Troop movement has grown to this level, and I think there is room for so much more.  The extreme generosity, support, and faith each of you has shown me, is nothing short of miraculous.  I honestly believe that your posts and words of encouragement have had a tremendous influence on me, and are one of the reasons why I have responded so well to this very grueling treatment regiment.  This story has become so much more than my relentless will to fight, live, and beat the unbeatable.  It has even become bigger than the merciless and cruel stalker that is GBM (Brain Cancer) that so desperately wants to rob me of my right to see my boys grow into fine young men with families of their own. Instead, this has become about all of us, and how we choose to deal with adversity in our own lives when faced with God’s greatest challenges; how our family’s, friends, and community rally around us when we need it the most.  It is for this lesson alone, that I feel empowered to continue pushing forward and sharing my story.  I hope you can see my new-found appreciation for the simple pleasures in life, and how blessed I really am to be alive and to be able to count each of you as my friends.

As positive as I am about my ability to extend my life expectancy longer than anyone could have ever imagined, I also believe in giving each of you a very realistic look at the other less glamorous side of what it feels like to go through treatment, deal with the emotional aspects of fighting cancer, and medical complications that may arise unexpectedly.  This is not my platform for a Hughes’ Troop pity party- You all know I prefer a positive outlook 99% of the time. I pray that you or your loved ones will never have to deal with cancer, but if you should have to, maybe my own transparent thoughts about my “rough” days will help you empathize or even anticipate what you can expect if you do.

That being said, this past weekend, I began to notice the first “negative” physical changes that have begun to take shape in my appearance.  Obviously when you are pumping hazardous materials into your body (chemotherapy and radiation), the benefit is that it should work toward destroying the cancer cells.  The adverse effect is that it also kills or disrupts other healthy cells, not only my brain, but my immunity system in general. My hair is noticeably beginning to fall out, which is fine because I keep it short anyways, however it still looks and feels a little awkward.  My body has begun to break out in acne, which is mostly hidden under clothing.  It’s causing me to have flashbacks of my high school days when girls wouldn’t talk to me, haha.  And lastly, I have been fighting a painful sore throat since Friday.  I thought I could tough it out, but I now wake up nightly in extreme pain and swallowing water feels like swallowing razor blades.  Yes Mom, I will be calling my doctor today to get it checked out.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?  Add these latest complications to the daily headaches, overwhelming fatigue, balancing of family, work, 15 friggin pills, and daily treatments and, at times, it feels like it’s a tad too much weight for any one person to tackle alone.  Thankfully, that is where you all come in.  No matter the amount of pain, stress, or physical setbacks I experience, I know I can always jump on Facebook or reflect on the all the cards and notes I have received from each of you, and my happy and fulfilled life comes circling right back around, reclaiming my thoughts.

Switching gears to my newest adventure, I had the great honor of being invited to share my story briefly on KOIN 6 Studios Monday, along with the organizer of the Portland Brain Tumor Walk Nicole Garcelon Hillis (Video:  I was so nervous and I felt I could have done a better job articulating my thoughts, but I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story with a positive spin and be able to bring some much-needed attention to this particular disease.  Please help support the Portland Brain Tumor Walk by walking it with me this Saturday at 8:30am, or donating if you have the financial means (  The entire KOIN 6 staff was amazing and I enjoyed the experience immensely.

So aside from a few medical complications which were totally expected, one thing remains constant… life simply moves forward and upward and I live it to the max with a humbled and grateful heart.

To leave you with my traditional motivational moment of the day, here is one of my favorite quote:

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

~ Charles Darwin

Have an inspired and healthy day!

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